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Remember When Tim McGraw Scored His First No. 1 Hit?

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Tim McGraw is one of the most perennially successful artists in country music, but he was a young artist still building his career when he scored his first No. 1 hit in 1994.

McGraw’s self-titled 1993 debut album didn’t create much of a stir, with three singles that all failed to chart. That changed with the release of his sophomore effort, Not a Moment Too Soon, in 1994. The lead single from the project, “Indian Outlaw,” reached No. 8, and the second single, “Don’t Take the Girl,” gave the rising star his first No. 1 hit when it reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart on May 28, 1994.

Written by Craig Marton and Larry W. Johnson, “Don’t Take the Girl” offers three different verses that tell the story of a boy named Johnny and the girl who will become his wife, beginning when he’s eight years old and begging his father, “Don’t take the girl” when they are going fishing. The song chronicles their love and life together in a series of vignettes that all culminate in that tag line, ultimately bringing it back to where it started in the circle of life.

The success of the song jump-started McGraw’s career, and three subsequent songs from Not a Moment Too Soon became ¬†Top 10 hits. The album itself hit No. 1 on both Billboard‘s Top Country Albums and Billboard 200 charts, becoming the best-selling country album of the year and winning an ACM Award for Album of the Year.

23 years later, “Don’t Take the Girl” remains an important career single for McGraw, who has gone on to place a number of other important career singles.

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